About desire paths

Julio Leal
1 min readMar 23, 2022

Every time I see a desire path, I always think ‘here goes another design gone to waste’. I reckon these paths, defined as ‘tracks made over time by the wishes and feet of walkers, especially those paths that run contrary to design or planning.” must be an urban designer’s nightmare. 😫

But hey, why not making this information work for you?

📍 Michigan State University did not put in pavements when new buildings were created. Instead, it waited for students to create their own paths.

📍 Another American university, Ohio State University, used the original old walkways created by former students, to create its current oval campus. That’s the picture I uncluded here.

And even though I feel like trusting your users might always be a good idea, I always wonder how many of these ‘walkers’ were actually convinced about the selected path being the right choice and whether they were just following others…

But does that even matter? 🤷🏻‍♂

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Julio Leal

Localization enthusiast who has been helping corporations create, develop and execute localization strategies for more than 15 years. Father of mensatio.me